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Could Rays Trade for Corey Seager?

By Mat Germain
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The Rays targeted Baez without anything coming to fruition. With recent developments considered, the Rays may be better served targeting Corey Seager as the LAD look to answer division rival moves.

There’s really no need to sell how great Corey Seager is to anyone, as any baseball fan knows he may be one of the best young SS in the game today. Still a young 21 years old and ranked the 5th best prospect in baseball by BA pre-2015, he has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order bat who can take his team to the next level.

Defensively, Seager is just as outstanding at either SS or 3B. Much like Manny Machado in Baltimore, he has such great hands, a great arm, and range that he makes the transition between the positions seamlessly.

Why the Rays?

The Rays have obviously made upgrading SS a priority. While they went out and obtained Brad Miller, he’s more likely to provide similar production to what Asdrubal Cabrera provided in 2015.

More from Rays Colored Glasses

While we’d all love for

Daniel Robertson

to come in and steal the position from him, things would have to go wrong with Miller first for him to get that opportunity. There’s also no guarantee that he’ll play at an above-average level if and when he does get the call.

Seager is cost controlled for a very long time, which makes him the perfect candidate for the Rays. That’s likely one of the main reasons they targeted Javier Baez, and it allows them to concentrate funds elsewhere.

Finally, with Andrew Friedman under fire in LA and the cordial relations he maintains with his old club and ownership in Tampa Bay, it seems only fitting that they assist him in completing a move that re-asserts the Dodgers position as a contender in the N.L. West.

Why deal Seager?

It sounds crazy, I know, but the Dodgers have sadly put themselves in a truly awkward position.

The Dodgers have a ton of money going out to players that no longer play for them (over $20 million), they can’t find anyone to take Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford on, Yasiel Puig is now at his lowest value yet, and they certainly couldn’t get the value they wanted by dealing Adrian Gonzalez.

That leaves Joc Pederson and Seager as the only real trade assets the team has aside from their prospects. In Pederson’s case, he lowered his trade value by disappearing in the second half of 2015 and therefore wouldn’t be bringing back what the Dodgers see as fair valued.

With pitching being a priority for the Dodgers, they could look to trade Julio Urias and other top pitching prospects for MLB talents. The problem there is that at this point, all teams are contending and none are selling pitching at a low cost.

That leaves Seager as the only player that they can deal for fair value and can probably get more return for now than ever before since he’s now proven he can perform at the MLB level.

Why not trade Seager to the Marlins for Fernandez?

One rumor that’s gone around recently has Seager going to Florida in a package for Fernandez. The problem there is that it’s reported the Marlins want not only Seager but also Pederson AND Urias AND two more prospects included in the deal, essentially emptying all top-prospects out of the Dodgers system in return for one arm that’s returning from injury.

Now, just because the Marlins were asking for it, there’s nothing saying that the Dodgers ever considered any of it. And they’re not the only game in town. The Indians and Padres are also said to be offering pitching in trade. The reported problem with these is that they seemingly continue to ask for the same talents, with much lesser returns than what the Rays could offer in return.

Proposed Package Going to LA?

The Rays are always in a financial crunch and are again looking to lower costs by dealing some of their more expensive talents. The premise of this trade scenario is to include a package including a combination of the following to compensate the Dodgers for losing such a phenomenal talent:

The actual package would depend on what the Dodgers are looking to resolve most and what the complete return for TB would be. When you look at the Dodgers rotation and imagine Archer in it, they have a lot more strength long-term at an affordable cost. The point here is that the Rays can both trade capable SS to LA as well the SP and RP they presumably covet at this point.

Why Should Friedman Consider it?

More from Rays News

The Arizona Diamondbacks literally stole

Zack Greinke

from them and traded for

Shelby Miller

. The San Francisco Giants signed

Jeff Samardzija

and

Johnny Cueto

. Can the Dodgers really afford to not answer their moves with some of their own? Surely they’re not banking on

Hisashi Iwakuma

alone to be enough of an answer.

By dealing Seager, Friedman will understandably anger much of the Dodgers fanbase who see Seager as a Dodger forever. However, if he uses Seager in a trade with the Rays, Friedman not only takes talent from a system he knows more intimately than any other in baseball, but he could resolve 2 problem areas while maintaining strength at SS in 1 fell swoop.

Consider the possibility of Odorizzi pitching behind Kershaw, with McGee in the pen and Miller manning SS. Doesn’t that seem to make the Dodgers a stronger team for the foreseeable future than the current team makeup?

Why Should the Rays Consider it?

With Evan Longoria being 30 years old, the Rays need to find the next heir to the team on the field. Pairing the two on the left side of the infield would allow Longo to mentor Seager through his learning curve and propel him to stardom.

With Willy Adames coming up strong, presumably in AA for 2016, and Jake Bauers on the brink, the Rays could field one of the best infields in MLB in 2017 and field the most powerful lineup they’ve ever had.

Pitching wise, the Rays can overcome the loss of another SP. Assuming they trade Odorizzi for example’s sake, their rotation going into 2016 could look as follows:

Chris Archer/Jake OdorizziMatt MooreErasmo RamirezDrew SmylyBlake Snell

This is still a strong rotation, and it has Alex Cobb returning to end the season, as well as Taylor Guerrieri and Jacob Faria ready to support them from the minors.

Final Thoughts

There’s no guarantee that the Dodgers will look to add pitching. Maybe they like their current options and will see how things work out for the first third of the season. There are plenty of teams that make big moves and fall flat out of the gates, which would negate the need for the Dodgers to make a move if they thing the Giants and Diamondbacks will falter.

However, there’s something that keeps calling out “big move in waiting” in Los Angeles and the fact that the rumors of them targeting Jose Fernandez were so strong it told me they’re serious about acquiring someone to replace Greinke in their rotation. With that in mind, and a pen in flux, I see a potential fit between these two teams and know their cordial relations could simplify the makings of a deal.

Next: Rays Next-in-line Players, Position-by-Position

Finally, if Friedman is going to deal a phenom like Seager, who better to deal him to than his old club instead of the Indians or division rival Padres? He gets to take what he needs from them, including SS replacements, and ensures his team can compete effectively in 2016 and beyond.

In no way shape or form am I saying that this deal will come to fruition. I simply wanted to lay out the roadmap that points to a possible fit, and to state that if the Dodgers do decide to deal Seager anywhere, it very well may be to the Tampa Bay Rays and most likely to one of the two Florida teams above all others.

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